NCAA College Football Week 11 Picks and Preview
Ohio State (-7.5) at Purdue
The Buckeyes got slapped with a failure to monitor penalty and lost scholarships, but that looks like nothing after what happened at Penn State. Braxton Miller has looked good at quarterback as long as the team doesn’t lean on him. So basically, if the Buckeyes need to start throwing they are in trouble. On the bright side, Purdue struggles stopping the run and that means Dan Herron could have a monster day in West Lafayette. Don’t get me wrong, nothing would make me happier than a Boilermaker win.
Texas at Missouri (+1.5)
Texas looks much better this season but it is still going to take some time to get this bus out of the ditch. Joe Bergeron had a breakout day last week with Malcolm Brown out with turf toe. The running game in Texas just got a whole lot better with two dangerous threats now available. I really like Missouri at home and with a point advantage. The best part about watching Missouri play is wondering when their quarterback is going to show that he is actually interested in the game. He’s so lackadaisical throwing the football and handing it off.
Nebraska (-3.5) at Penn State
No one has had a worst week in modern college football than Penn State. This is the worst scandal that has ever happened in college sports and has many similarities to the actual Watergate, because the cover-up is as bad as the crime itself. There’s a fifty-fifty split on people thinking this was a distraction or a motivator. It’s pretty clear, this is a distraction. Players don’t have a strong belief in their coach and didn’t know until Wednesday who the head coach was. Although, if Joe Paterno did become a figurehead these last years and actually didn’t coach we’ll know pretty quickly.
Nebraska got shocked last week, losing to the Northwestern Wildcats who was playing without Heisman strong quarterback Dan Persa. Taylor Martinez has made some strides in the passing attack but still has a long ways to go before he’s a true dual-threat. The Cornhuskers rank 107th in the nation in passing yards per game, but 13th in rushing. While scoring 34.7 points per game, they allow an uncharacteristically high 23.1 points per game. This is a good chance for Cornhuskers to get a BIG-10 win and play their way in to the championship game.
Florida at South Carolina (-3.5)
I picked South Carolina to finish second in the SEC East and Florida to finish third. The scores of these teams playing each other reflect how close these teams are. I picked the SEC East to go Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, and so far I’m barely right. Georgia lost to South Carolina 45-42. Georgia beat Florida 24-20. Now South Carolina hosts the Gators.
The Gators have really struggled moving back to a pro style offense. While the defense has played really well, the offense isn’t giving them any breaks. The Gators are only scoring 26 points a game, making them the 72nd scoring offense in the country. They are in the bottom half of the country in passing and rushing. With Clowney and Jeffreys, the Gamecocks should win by a touchdown or more.
Michigan (-1) at Illinois
Illinois is on their yearly slide through October that continues in to November. After starting 6-0 with a win over Arizona State they have dropped three straight against Ohio Stage, Purdue, and Penn State. The Purdue game was the true sign of the slide. Now they take on a Michigan squad that can score a lot of points. The Fighting Illini have held opponents to 17.2 points a game but only score 26.2.
Denard Robinson is no the perfect fit for the offense, but is still an incredible player who Brady Hoke is using well. The Wolverines did drop their last game at Iowa and they travel again to Champagne. Fitzgerald Toussaint has made himself a good fit for the offense and takes some of the rushing pressure off of Robinson. Iowa held the Wolverine rushing attack down last week, so it is imperative the Wolverine line gets a push or Denard makes good, accurate passes.
Texas A&M at Kansas State (+5.5)
Kansas State was the darling of the Big-12 until they started to play really good teams, like when they got hammered by Oklahoma. The Wildcat schedule is back heavy and they could go on a losing skid. However, there isn’t much to not like with this team in this matchup. Texas A&M is a master team at making mistakes, getting dumb penalties, turning the ball over, blowing leads, and letting teams back door cover. Kansas State is good at the opposite of everything I just listed. The Wildcats thrive on the mistakes of other teams. With the home field advantage and points I like Kansas State to cover.
TCU at Boise State (-15.5)
After TCU said that they were going to defect to the Big East the Mountain West flip flopped where the game against Boise State would be. It was scheduled to take place at TCU but is now going to be played on the Smurf Turf. The Mountain West said that Boise State couldn’t wear their blue uniforms on the blue turf so my retinas won’t be burned anymore while watching the games.
Last year’s Boise State may be better than this ones, just because the receivers last year with Titus Young and Austin Pettis were unreal. Moore does a great job finding open receivers and being very accurate to cover up the weaknesses of this years receivers. Air Force is really the only team that has played the Broncos closely thus far. What’s really been impressive though is the defense. Football Outsiders has them as the best defense in the country (The offense is ranked seventh).
TCU is having an off year, and it was about time that the horned frogs had a regression. They lost to SMU in overtime and lost to Baylor in an exciting season opener. Since then they have beaten the likes of Wyoming, San Diego State, and BYU by two scores. I like Boise State to win by three.
Auburn (+13) at Georgia
Auburn getting 13 points between the hedges just seems ridiculous to me. The only teams Georgia has beaten by more than 13 points this season is Ole Miss and Mississippi State (Coastal Carolina and New Mexico State don’t count). Auburn has only lost by more than 13 points to Clemson, Arkansas, and LSU. Those teams can score points, Georgia struggles in that facet of the game. This is not going to be a high scoring game and Auburn is an amazing team at making games ugly, scores close, and backdoor covering.
Washington at USC (-11)
USC has been playing their best football the last three games. They almost beat Stanford if not for a fumble in the third overtime. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee is the best receiver duo in the conference if not the country. Woods is in his own world statistically with 90 catches for 1121 yards and 11 touchdowns. Matt Barkley has seen his NFL stock soar with some now considering him to be a top 10 pick. He’s thrown for 28 touchdowns and over 2600 yards with a 67% completion rate.
Washington is struggling right now, especially on defense, and specifically in stopping the run. They got torched by Oregon and Stanford on the ground, and while those two teams specialize in running the football, Washington didn’t look that competitive. Turnovers have also killed the Huskies. It will be the Huskies inability to stop the run or pass and a few key turnovers that will turn this game in to a blowout.
Alabama (-18.5) at Mississippi State
Alabama is coming off the worst special teams performance in recent memory. Their kicker missed four field goals and the Crimson Tide lost in overtime. The team sounds really determined to not let LSU beat them twice and have their sights set on crushing the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have been a disappointing team thus far and the Crimson Tide have beaten them by an average of 24.3 points in their last three meetings.
PAC-12 Picks Straight Up
Oregon beats Stanford
USC beats Washington
Arizona beats Colorado
Oregon State beats Cal (I’m shocked with myself)
UCLA beats Utah
Arizona State beats Washington State